Charleston Wine + Food Festival: Waffle House Smackdown


We attended the

Charleston Wine + Food Festival

with friends in March.

Waffle House Smack Down Charleston Wine + Food Festival 2014

Lest you think a wine & food festival is for wine & food snobs only, our favorite event was The Waffle House Smackdown, hosted by Bon Appetit Restaurant Editor Andrew Knowlton!


 Four chefs battled in a short-order showdown to produce Waffle House menu classics, after a brief training period at a local Waffle House.


They were then judged according to Waffle House’s signature plating methods and taste, as well as standards that include an 8-minute order-to-plate, no-color omelets, toast-framing-eggs, and hash browns, as opposed to hash blondes :)



Pictured left to right in this year’s smackdown:

Kevin Gillespie of Atlanta’s Gunshow and Fan Favorite Top Chef contestant; Mike Lata of Charleston’s FIG,  last year’s smackdown champion (and chef of our favorite Charleston restaurant BTW)Michael Hudman of Andrew Michael Italian Kitchen in Memphis; Chris Shepherd of Houston’s Underbelly.


The winner of the smackdown and Golden Frying Pan was Chris Shepherd, who then went on to compete against a 6 year Waffle House veteran. Even double-teaming with fellow competitor Kevin Gillespie, they quickly proved to be no match for a “Master Blaster,” the honorary title of Waffle House’s short-order chefs.


 My friends and family know I would rather have a stiff poke in the eye or be served hash browns that are smothered and not covered than have my photo taken, but The Post and Courier caught me red handed. If you’re so inclined, you can see me, with my friend Ginny and our Waffle House grits & Bloody Mary in hand :)

Thank you for your visit,

Enjoy this is a brief video that explains the smackdown!

  22 comments for “Charleston Wine + Food Festival: Waffle House Smackdown

  1. April 6, 2014 at 8:59 am

    Love, love, love Waffle House. The pecan waffles are to die for!

  2. RS
    April 6, 2014 at 9:06 am

    How do you do, Miss Mary. Thanks for sharing your pic and please please never stop blogging – your blog is my all time favorite!

  3. Stephanie
    April 6, 2014 at 9:19 am

    I love it! Wish I lived in the south. You ‘all have the best food!

  4. April 6, 2014 at 9:39 am

    Sounds like a lot of fun Mary! Loved seeing your photo!

  5. linda kemp
    April 6, 2014 at 10:52 am

    I loved seeing your picture and the clever Waffle House Smackdown.

  6. April 6, 2014 at 11:28 am

    Loved FINALLY seeing you!!!! Thanks so much for sharing your beautiful self. We may be going to Charleston this week. Decided to go early and tour C. til the car is ready. I have wanted to go there for AGES!!!!

  7. Lynn@Happier Than A Pig In Mud
    April 6, 2014 at 11:31 am

    ‘Taint nothin worse than Hash Blondes! They have to be nicely browned:@) Looks like you had a great time Mary!

  8. April 6, 2014 at 12:34 pm

    That’s my kinda smack down Mary! I loved seeing your pretty face!! It’s always nice being able to picture the person that posts and inspires us. xo

  9. Carolyn
    April 6, 2014 at 12:51 pm

    Great story and video! Loved seeing you and Ginny with you Waffle House hats!

  10. franki
    April 6, 2014 at 1:25 pm

    You’al surely do know how to paaarrrty’!!! franki

  11. April 6, 2014 at 2:14 pm

    How fun!

  12. Ginny Hoover
    April 6, 2014 at 2:37 pm

    We are sooo cute bet we’ll be in the new Waffle House Ad Campaign!!!

  13. April 6, 2014 at 3:07 pm

    Looks like it was an enjoyable event. Glad to see your picture.

  14. April 6, 2014 at 4:13 pm

    so fun to finally put a face with your voice, thanks for sharing the illusive you!

  15. paula
    April 6, 2014 at 8:04 pm

    Oh Mary,~~ you’re cute, it is nice to put a face with one gifted lady !!Looks like you are having a fun time :)

  16. April 6, 2014 at 10:31 pm

    Oh, how much fun you appear to be having! It reminds me of the song, “Scattered, Smothered, Covered, and Fried!”

  17. celeste meehan
    April 7, 2014 at 5:36 pm

    mary, i used to follow quite a lot of blogs, but slowly unsubscribed down to only a few. i love HIWTBI – it is my hands-down favorite. thank you for sharing your photo – it’s nice to have a face to go with your thoughtful words and gorgeous photos.

  18. April 7, 2014 at 7:55 pm

    can’t get much better than a Waffle House waffle!

  19. Cynthia Raines
    April 7, 2014 at 9:17 pm

    Thanks Mary for finally showing us your lovely self!! You need to add more shots of you and your sweet doggies!!

  20. April 7, 2014 at 9:53 pm

    And you don’t like to have your picture taken because………???? Get outta here! Now that you’ve outed yourself, you’ll have to appear in your blog photos at least once a month or otherwise face an uprising! :-)

    The Waffle House Smackdown sounds like a ton of fun. I have never eaten at a Waffle House. I’ve seen them plenty. They’re all around where I live. I’ve just never eaten there. Went in to eat once, but had to leave in a hurry before we could even order. Oh, well…maybe someday! Especially now that I’ve seen this!!!

  21. Sharon Howard
    April 8, 2014 at 7:38 am

    So nice to finally see a photo of beautiful you! Now all of your posts will be even more personal! What a fun contest!!

  22. April 8, 2014 at 7:47 am

    OH how much total fun!! I would love that! I love to watch the Bobby Flay throwdowns~ I am glad to see that Charleston chefs got casual and had some fun…OK, why am I craving a waffle and a bloody Mary! And hash browns!!

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